The latest Q-Poll numbers have hit the wires.  Lieberman still has a lead in the overall polling numbers — but the trend in each successive poll has been that Ned Lamont is closing the gap. 

What does that mean?  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Ned Lamont, whose anti-war campaign rattled the political landscape by toppling Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut’s Democratic primary, is gaining support among voters — but Lieberman still has an edge, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll has Lieberman leading Lamont among registered voters 49 percent to 38 percent. Republican Alan Schlesinger gets support from 4 percent. Among likely voters, Lieberman was supported by 53 percent, compared to Lamont’s 41 percent and Schlesinger’s 4 percent….

Lamont, however, is improving since a July 20 Quinnipiac poll. In that survey of registered voters, he trailed Lieberman 51 percent to 27 percent with Schlesinger getting 9 percent. The latest poll quizzed both registered voters and voters likely to cast ballots; the July 20 poll only questioned registered voters.

It’s tough to get a comparison based solely on this poll, since the July poll was registered voters only, but when you look back at the May 2006 polling, you really get a sense of the trend. 

(If registered Democrat) If the 2006 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Joseph Lieberman and Ned Lamont for whom would you vote?

Lieberman: 65%

Lamont: 19%

That’s quite a difference from where the numbers are now, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more.  The Q-Poll information seems to indicate that they polled characterizing Lieberman as an independent.  That is NOT the case — he is the Connecticut for Lieberman candidate, and the question should be expressly phrased to include his specific current party affiliation.

Chris Bowers of MyDD has a lot more on the numbers breakdown.

I do think that Sirota was right — Lieberman is the de facto Republican candidate at the moment, where "Lieberman leads 75 – 13 – 10 percent among likely Republican voters."  (Ned is also out-polling the current Repub candidate among Republicans in the latest Q-poll.)

The problem is that we have been hearing that the Republicans are planning a bait and switch.  They’ve lured Lieberman into the three-way race with a weak candidate — but word is that they are planning a potential replacement for him once Lieberman’s ego has cemented into the race.  And if that happens, then the whole situation changes in an instant — you think Karl Rove wouldn’t knife his new BFF Joe Lieberman in the back for a potential "R" in the Senate from Connecticut?  (I laughed out loud just typing that one.)

More and more newspapers around the state of Connecticut are telling Lieberman to bow out now.  (But I’m not holding my breath on that one.)  As LamontBlog points out, Lieberman’s disapproval numbers are up 5 points in the latest Q-poll…not exactly the number you want trending upward in successive polls.   But definitely something the media should ask the Lieberman campaign about, given that there are several months to go in the race and and upward spiral in dislike is not the way he wants to be going.

All Connecticut voters should get to know Ned, not just the Dems who liked what they saw of him in the primary.  Take a peek at the Dem numbers in the Q-Poll:  "likely Democratic voters back Lamont 63 – 35 percent."  That’s a huge difference from the primary vote — in Ned’s favor — showing that the more you get to know Ned Lamont, the more you like him and the less you like Joe Lieberman.

The YouTube above is from Ned’s press conference yesterday.  (courtesy of Tim Tagaris)  My favorite line:  “Both Vice President and Senator Lieberman seem to be reading off of the same playbook.”  More on the presser from the New Haven Independent and the NYTimes, which also shows some support coming in from elected Democratic officials for Ned and against George Bush’s pal Joe Lieberman.  I say it’s about damn time.

There is a lot of work to be done between now and November for Ned to pull this win off.  It’s going to take all of us pulling together — and a whole lot of work on the ground in Connecticut from all the dedicated folks there.  Ned will make a great Senator.

And, as TeddySanFran said to me in an e-mail this morning, Joe can always look forward to a new job elsewhere — although now that he’s the de facto Republican nominee, his stock may be falling on KStreet as well.  Ooops…

Here is something you can do today to help.  As you know, Bob Geiger has been tracking down Senate support for Ned Lamont.  There are still a few Senators who have not weighed in one way or the other — and they need to be called and told to support Ned Lamont.  Bob has names and phone numbers here — if you could call and report back, that would be fantastic.  You can also phone toll free through the Capitol switchboard at 888-355-3588.  Or try calling their local office numbers — this August campaign recess is just the time to speak to your Senator face-to-face.  I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.  (You can bet that Sen. Byrd will be hearing from me today.)

The more Democratic officials here from the grassroots in support of Ned, the more they get the message to get off their butts and get to CT to campaign for a Lamont victory.

UPDATE:  Just got e-mail from Sen. John Kerry asking for support for Ned Lamont, Bob Menendez and Daniel Akaka — three high profile races that Dems need to win this fall.  Good for Sen. Kerry.  (Send a thank you note here for Kerry doing the tough work for Ned.)  Also, former Sen. John Edwards will be appearing with Ned in New Haven this afternoon — good on him.

The rest of the Democrats in the Senate are officially on notice:  if you do not publicly support Ned Lamont, we will remember it.  And so will the Democrats in Connecticut House races.  And so will the whole nation if Democrats do not take back the House as a result of Joe Lieberman being allowed to suck all the oxygen out of these races for the Dems.  Get off your butts and do the hard work for the winner of the Democratic primary – or face the consequences in the future — your choice.